Renewed sense of purpose at Walks

King's Lynn boss Tommy Taylor is backing his players to turn up the heat on their Southern League Premier Division play-off rivals at home to Banbury today.

King's Lynn boss Tommy Taylor is backing his players to turn up the heat on their Southern League Premier Division play-off rivals at home to Banbury today.

The Linnets chief detects a renewed sense of purpose after some intensive training following recent damaging defeats to Salisbury and Merthyr.

Taylor accepts Lynn's blip leaves little margin for error in the race for second spot and home play-off advantage.

Rivals Bath and Bedford face relegation certainties Evesham and Aylesbury respectively this afternoon, while fourth-placed Chippenham entertain lowly Tiverton.

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"The lads have been excellent all season - we've just had a bad 10 days," said Taylor.

"I don't think it's a confidence thing, it's about doing what got us here in the first place. We've conceded too many goals of late, but the responsibility rests with the whole team - not only the defence.

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"I want us to close the opposition down quicker and stop giving the ball away. This week has been spent working on some forward stuff and set plays.

"It's been too long since we scored from a free kick or corner so we've looked at the delivery and hitting better areas."

Taylor highlighted Matt Nolan's glancing header against Yate on February 18 as the last time Lynn struck from a set-piece.

The big striker sat out training on Thursday with a calf strain but is expected to recover for the Puritans' visit.

Grant Cooper visited a physio yesterday for treatment on his troublesome hamstring problem and Taylor will again make a late decision on the centre back.

Captain Sam McMahon and Matt O'Halloran have both shaken off knocks while Arron Benstead (back) is set to retain his place in goal.

"If Arron's fit, he'll play," confirmed Taylor.

"He still has some stiffness in his lower back, but I'm in a great position because with John Higgs we have two capable keepers. The problem is when you don't have options.

"Coops and Matty Nolan just had a rub-down on Thursday and if there is any doubt we won't take a risk."

Taylor insists he has no plans to rest players, despite Lynn having already booked their place in those end-of-season play-offs.

"No, that isn't going to be in my mind - we want to win every game," he said. "Everyone's gunning for second spot. The objective for us is clear, we've made the play-offs so now we want home advantage to go on and win them.

"Finishing second would be massive. If you offered me a point behind Bath with them coming to us on the last day I'd take it now. I'll be happy with four over Easter, but we'll look for six."

Taylor has already suffered play-off heartache twice after guiding Leyton Orient to final defeats at Wembley in 1999 and the Millennium Stadium two years later.

"We had all our strikers suspended for one game so I was left with makeshift forwards," he recalled. "It's not nice to lose out that way but at least in the league play-offs you play teams home and away before the final.

"We only have one chance so we'll have to perform on the day.

"That's why home advantage is vital because our supporters can play a major part."

Today's game kicks off at 3pm.

King's Lynn (from): Benstead, Higgs, West, Smith, Cooper, Carey, Camm, Anselin, McMahon, Defty, Hammond, Nolan, Charles, Harvey, O'Halloran, Peters, Hyde, Jones.

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